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Dave's favourite mountain

By Carsten.nebel - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Thinking skywards I remember the foothills of the Himalaya where I lived in my late teens, far higher than I have ever ventured since, I remember the hot and sticky journeys and being scared senseless by the terrible driving and the wrecks of colourful trucks strewn across the subtropical jungle. One night I was taken in an impossibly old Land Rover by a Gurkha friend to Tiger Point a place to see Kangchenjunga at day break, a turning point in my young life.

By Dmitry A. Mottl - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

There is also my failed attempt up the highest mountain in the Dolomites, Marmolada. I was following my friend, cousin and now leader of City Mountaineering up the great glacier that leans across the mountain before (sensibly) turning back when the clouds came in and things got sticky. A truly magnificent beast of a hill and one I would like to befriend again.

But those memories are from other places, visits in another world. My favourite mountain would have to be within the country that I grew up, the wet, windy and sometimes rather chilly world of Britain that is my home.

There are days on a hill on this island when looking around all you can see are green hills and blue sky with a cool wind brushing over you, on those days there is nowhere better to be. So, my favourite mountain could be: the Old Man of Coniston which I climbed one snowy New Year’s Day just after my first son was born, it was completely covered in snow and what fun we had; or it could be Blencathra, the hill that I think looks like a lion sleeping with its ridges protruding in all directions; or maybe Cnict aka the 'Welsh Matterhorn', it's a stunner of a hill away from the masses that has bags of character.

But in truth it is none of these.

When I was a young boy I was entranced by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and I am happy to admit that in the 90’s I spent much time with my friends role-playing Dungeons and dragons and painting games workshop lead figures. In these worlds of elves, dwarves and great legend Dragons sat on top of mountains that were so sharp that you knew they could never exist.

By Ian Greig, CC BY-SA 2.0,

But then one day when I was thirty years old my friend took me to see Tryfan and although he told me otherwise I knew that this was my mountain and I knew there was a dragon at the top.

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